The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is one of my personal highlights of the calendar and I’m delighted to be captaining the first ever girls’ team on Saturday.
It’s always a great atmosphere at Ascot, and my family and friends and agent Guy Jewell will be there as usual and it’s always nice to have friendly faces in the crowd.
Someone told me this morning that this will be my seventh Shergar Cup, which I found difficult to believe – it shows I’m obviously older than I think I am – and I’ve ridden four winners before, so it’s been a reasonably lucky meeting for me.
I’m joined by Emma-Jayne Wilson and Chantal Sutherland, who are both top jockeys in Canada and the US, and have enjoyed a high level of success over there.
I first met Emma-Jayne when I was in my first or second year as an apprentice and went to Tom Amoss’s in America to gain some experience. We were just starting out and both of us have obviously progressed in the right direction since then.
Emma-Jayne rode in the Shergar Cup in 2006, but I think you’ll notice a more experienced and stronger jockey this time around. She has all the right qualities, is very competitive and I’d much rather have her on my side than not.
Chantal has probably had more success at a higher level as she’s won a few Group 1s now, and is a very confident rider. I don’t think we’ll be lacking in any department as a team. I competed against them both in last year’s Female Jockey Challenge at Pimlico Racecourse in America – and thought then that it would be a good idea to form a team for the Shergar Cup.
We’re three quite different characters. Emma-Jayne is very down to earth and laid-back, while Chantal is very ‘pink’ and girly! I’d like to think I was somewhere in between! It should be a good fun occasion and I can’t wait. I think the team has as good a chance as any of the others.
I can’t really tell you anything about my rides at Ascot as I don’t think I’ve ridden any of them, and Friday looks like being a quiet day at Brighton, so not much to report on that front.
Dressage amazing – but was never for me!
I’ve been trying to keep abreast of all the Olympic action and it’s amazing how well GB is doing. I do feel annoyed though that I didn’t get tickets or make time to see some events – but that’s the life of a jockey, and things will ease off in the winter, so I shouldn’t complain.
I obviously keep an eye on the equestrian events and it’s great to see us win more medals in the dressage on Thursday. I did enjoy show-jumping and eventing as a youngster, but dressage was not for me – too slow! That said, I love watching dressage and am full of nothing but admiration for those riders.
Give Kempton a chance
Finally, I think people should give the re-laid surface at Kempton a chance to bed in. I’ve ridden on it twice now, and the second time certainly rode better and wasn’t as slow as the first time. One big benefit of the new track is that the kickback is far better. I was used to getting hit by clumps in the face, but it’s more fluffy now which is far more preferable!
Anyway enjoy the weekend, and cheer us on at Ascot if you get the chance.